Imagine: The List
Fic posted by members of Vo's Imaginings YahooGroup



Principal Madison invites Doctor Savage and Johnny to lunch and they settle at the head table as the students begin straggling in.


"Thank you for coming out to apologize to Josette for the debacle about her scholarship, I have a soft spot for her since she came to the school when she was ten after the earthquake."


"Can you tell me a little about her, does she have any family?"


"No, she never knew her father and her mother died from her . ..condition when she was twelve. She's been working here at the school in the laundry since she was thirteen to help pay down the costs of her scholarship loan before graduation."


After lunch Josette starts pushing the cart down the sidewalk to the laundry, tossing everything in the commercial washers and starting them running. She'd brought a book with her and settles at the table waiting for them to finish washing before taking them into the other room to wrap in plastic before taking the tunnels back to the dorm when it starts raining. carrying the bundles up to the storeroom she's surprised by a large crash of thunder and lightning that has her sighing and flipping the nearest light switch. As she'd expected there's no electricity and she walks across the hall to the other storeroom for one of the candles David had purchased for these occurances. Taking it back to her room she puts it on the table and checks the contents of her refrigerator, deciding she can wait on groceries until after the new generator is installed.


A tap on the door has Josette looking over at Susan as she comes into the room. "Too damn dark in my room without any power." Her kitten is dropped onto the bed beside Josette's cats and she drops into another chair at the table.


"How are we handling groceries?"


"I'd thought about getting groceries after our finals but then we're going to be without power for a couple of days while they install the generator and do whatever else they need to do. Better to just wait until after they're done and get a load of groceries in then."


Susan nods. "We can get a couple of coolers for whatever we don't eat up down in the basement and up here."


The door opens again and the others come in with their animals. "What do you have that needs to stay cold?" David asks, opening her refrigerator and freezer doors.


"Not much, I was just thinking about getting groceries after our finals but realized we'd be without power a couple of days while they installed the generator. I used up the last of the eggs, ham, and other stuff that was getting old this morning in an omelet."


"I'd wondered why you were eating breakfast then eating breakfast again." Anna says, shaking her head. "But yeah, we gotta check our refrigerator too. We were just checking the refrigerator downstairs when the power went out."


Anna has a notebook in her hands and David starts calling off the contents of Josette's refrigerator and freezer, mostly half-filled bottles of condiments, stuff for sandwiches, a package of hamburger she'd taken from the freezer, and one lonely onion in the crisper drawer. The freezer is just as bare, with a few frozen dinners, bags of frozen vegetables, a half-full box of ice cream sandwiches from this summer, and a couple of frozen pizzas.


"Is that hamburger thawed yet?" Josette asks.


David pokes the package and nods. Josette gets up and lights the burner with a match, putting a pan on the stove and starts breaking up the hamburger with a spoon.


"What are you making?"


"Tacos, I got part of a package of tortillas, one onion, part of a head of lettuce, and a tomato to get eaten up. With the power out, they won't offer dinner until six p.m." Everybody nods. "We've got another package of hamburger, hard taco shells, and part of a bottle of taco sauce. Do you have enough seasoning if we bring it over?"


"Yeah, I got part of a container of taco seasoning yet." Josette opens a cupboard and brings it out. A tapping from the back door makes everybody look, Susan opening it to find one of the maintenance personnel with a cart filled with bottled water. Between him and Abby they get eight cases in Josette's room before he thanks them and leaves.


Anna comes back with a bag full of food and takes over the job of frying the hamburger as Josette checks the cats water and food dishes. The others bring their pets food and water dishes to the room, opening water bottles for the critters. Pulling on ponchos, Alan and the twins click leashes onto their puppies collars and walk them outside, coming inside and drying them off with towels from the storage room, hanging the wet towels over the curtain rod in Josette's bathroom.


A wide variety of dishes is placed on the table and counter and they settle down to eat. The dishes end up in the sink to be washed after everything is polished off and David and Anna make a list of what's in the twins refrigerator that will need to be kept cold. The superstore has dry ice they can put in coolers, that they can also get there, and they can put the food in a corner to use as needed.


Josette puts the originals of the letters in the folder with the others before putting it, the folder with the copies, and the folder she'd gotten from Dr. Savage and Mr. Littlejohn in her desk.


"Is anybody taking their textbooks with them to class for finals?" Josette asks, turning to look at the others. Everybody shakes their heads. "Why don't we start cleaning up the first and second floor lounges then, boxing the books up and put them in a room out of the way?"


Everybody nods and walk down the hallway, seeing the rain is letting up through the large doors in front of the building. Blocking open the door, Josette pulls out the first box out and they start going through it, taping it up after marking who it belongs to and taking it upstairs. An hour's work has the first floor lounge cleaned up and they check their watches before grabbing a flashlight from the storeroom and walking through the tunnels to the dining hall, Anna putting the flashlight in her pocket before they fill their trays and settle at their table in the crowded dining hall.


"Good evening everybody, as you already know we're currently without electricity. According to the news, there was a lightning strike at a power station and everything is currently being rerouted. The latest restoration update is Tuesday afternoon."


"Thankfully we're not in the middle of a blizzard this time." one of the teachers snorts. "Yes, as usual school is canceled until the power is restored. At least for our high school students, our university students have phone numbers to call Monday to see if your finals are still on?"


"That really would be the cherry on the top of the crap sundae they've been dishing out." Josette grumbles. "Two more days." Abby claps her on the shoulder as everybody around them starts eating. "Josette, will you and the others see me after dinner, we need to talk."


"That is not a good sign." Abby moans.


"Hey, I'm the pessimist in the group, quit stealing my lines." Josette grins at her and they start eating. "I wonder what Principal Madison wants with us?"


"Probably either telling us that he's sicced the school lawyers on the university, information from Ms. Sawyer about the news we're being 'asked' to leave school made the national news, or letting us know we can use the gym's showers to shower before we head to the university Monday and Tuesday."


They finish their meals and go to the buffet line again for seconds, settling back at the table. They eat their second and third helpings before waiting at their table as the teachers start taking their students back to the dorms.


Once the room is cleared, Principal Madison comes over to the table and pulls a chair from a nearby table over. "Okay, the good news is that we've turned the letters you received over to the news media and our lawyers, both of whom are howling for blood. The bad news is, it was definitely the university and not the hacker who wrote the letters."


"Already knew that." Josette snorts.


"I don't know what the hell they thought they were doing by asking you to leave the school."


"If we're not their students, they can stick their heads back in the sand and hope all this goes away." Susan snorts. "They don't seem to realize all they're doing is making the situation worse. . .and they're still no closer to finding the hacker than they were before."


"Your teachers already suspect that the hacker is going to try messing with the grades so they're going to be grading the finals as they've been turned in and you should be getting a handwritten note with your final grade for that class before you leave if you finish soon enough. If not, by the end of that day."


Everybody nods.


"You already know you can use the gym to shower before your classes Monday and Tuesday morning if the power isn't restored sooner."


Again everybody nods.


"Off with you lot then and remember, it's only a couple more days and you'll be free of this insanity. Once you get your grades, and if the mailed copy does get tampered with, the lawyers will be dealing with them."


Again everybody nods, hug Principal Madison for taking care of them, and head back down through the tunnels to the dorm. Everybody gets flashlights, candles, or kerosene lamps from the storeroom and head to their rooms to walk the dogs one last time before the outside door in Josette and the twins rooms are closed and locked for the night. Nobody's ready for bed and they end up in Josette's room, taking turns winding the radio to listen to the news at the top of the hour. Since they already know the reason the power is off, they turn the radio to a music station and listen for a half hour or so until everybody starts yawning and they take their candles or flashlights off to bed. Blowing out the candle and putting it on top of the refrigerator so the cats can't knock it over during the night, Josette crawls under the covers and falls asleep to the sounds of the cats purring.


The next morning after they've fed the cats and walked the dogs David says he's heading to the island and grins as he asks the others if he should take Principal Madison and Professor Druid with him.


"They will beat your ass." Susan says, shaking her head. She looks out the door and shakes her head. "But yeah, we might as well for a couple of hours anyway. Not like they can do anything here until electricity comes back on." Coming into the dining hall, Josette grins at the others before she walks over to the teachers table. "Can we see you for a while after breakfast, if you don't have any school business that you need to handle?"


"No we don't have any plans." Druid looks over at Jolt for a minute and they watch Josette walk back to the table. After the meal they wait until the dining hall clears out before David opens a tesseract and taking Druid and Principal Madison's arms, they walk through.


They're obviously not in Massachusetts anymore James thinks as he looks up at the warm sun. Looking around he sees a cliff angling over a lagoon and a beach further down.


"Principal Madison, Professor Druid, welcome to the Bermuda Triangle." Josette smirks. "David's going to check the garden if you want to follow him Professor."


Jolt looks around, "Tell me why I shouldn't beat you all?"


"You have to wait in line behind David's Grammy Allie and his father?" Abby chuckles.


Druid looks around the neat garden patch, David and Alan putting down mulch around the plants just coming up. She closes her eyes and slides her fingers into the garden soil, 'feeling' the new plants growing and those still under the surface. A small compost pile is nearby and she 'feels' it before walking back to the beach, taking off her shoes, and wriggling her toes in the warm sand. Jolt settles down beside her and the others form a semi-circle behind them.


"Thank you, I needed this." Druid says when they finally get ready to leave a couple of hours later. This time David opens the tesseract in their dorm and they walk down the stairs to the basement and through the tunnels to the dining hall. After lunch they work on the second floor lounge, clearing out the textbooks and putting them in a room before putting their school bags and a change of clothes out for the morning before settling in their rooms for an hour before dinner. David had gone into town for the paper when he realized that some places had power and came back with a handful of papers, the news that the university was asking the students who had been affected by the hacker attacking the school to leave had made the front page and the school's refusal to respond to inquiries makes them look like fools.


The coupons are sorted through, Josette clipping a few for her grocery list while the others end up in a basket in the dining hall for students and teachers to go through. After dinner they once again come to Josette's room to listen to music by candlelight before going to bed.


Before breakfast the next morning they walk to the gym and get hot showers and dress for the day, before walking to the dining hall and eating, then returning to the dorm and gathering their bags. Arriving at the school they sigh as they see more news crews in the commons interviewing students. Heading to their classes, they settle in their seats as the other students settle in seats. The teacher comes in and Josette starts answering the first question, double checking her mental book before standing up and handing over the exam. Nodding the teacher begins checking it and marks it, filling out a paper and signing it before smiling at Josette and wishing her well in her future classes. Looking at her grade, Josette smiles when she sees she's got an 4.0 on the final and in the class and slides it in her bag before walking to the library until her afternoon class. Reading a couple magazines passes the time and she heads for her second class, nodding at the teacher as she comes into the room.


Taking the final, she starts filling it out and double checks her answers before handing it up. Again, she waits for the teacher to check her exam and takes the paper handed to her, looking at her grades and smiling, then nodding as the teacher says she'll miss having her for a student before walking out of the building and finding herself being tracked by a news crew, obviously she'd been recognized.


"Miss Takahawa, may we have a few words?"


Josette nods. "I understand that you received a letter from the school asking you and your friends not to return next semester because they disagreed with you speaking out against the actions of the hacker currently plaguing the school?"


"Yes, it seems the school would rather punish their students by forcing them to contine being victims instead of finding the hacker who's been targeting them and dealing with them."


"Are you sorry to be leaving the school?"


"I'm sorry that I won't be able to take any more classes from the teachers who have never been anything but kind to me, but the school? Leaving a place that seems to be under almost daily attack that the administration seems determined to ignore, no matter how many students are inconvenienced? No, I'll miss the people here, but I won't miss the school."


"Do you plan on continuing your education elsewhere?"


"Oh yes, I already have interviews with a number of other schools scheduled and hope my education won't be interrupted too long."


The others start arriving and they walk to a quiet area to head back to the school, sighing in relief as they arrive at the dorm. Josette and Anna open their back doors for some air before walking out to the mailboxes. Josette opens her box and blinks at the number of letters as David takes off to get the daily newspapers. One is from the school and she carefully opens it, sighing when she sees its only the promised apology from the president over the student loan debacle.


"Neat," Abby says, reading over her shoulder. "Please, if I wasn't seventeen and underage for having a student loan, this," she nods at the letter, "never would have happened. The administration would have ignored it like they ignored all the other students who magically had student loans in default." she puts the letter in her bag and turns to the others. "My monthly statement from the bank." She opens it and blinks as she reads the letter about how her scholarship loan had been paid in full and now the account had been turned into a credit card, with an initial credit limit of twenty-five hundred dollars.


"Did anybody else?" Josette holds out her letter.


"Get a letter saying our scholarship loans had been paid off and the account was now a credit card?" Anna asks slowly. "Yup." Abby says, holding out her letter. "Uh-huh." Alan says a minute later. "Do you think this is real?"


"I. . .don't want to think about it right now," Josette says, turning to the rest of her mail. "We can take the letters to the bank Wednesday."


Everybody else nods. They head to their rooms, the twins and Alan taking their puppies for a walk while Josette takes a couple of aspirin and looks at her watch, flipping a switch to see if the power had magically returned yet. It hadn't yet and she sighs before walking to the dining hall and into the smaller hallway where the snacks are usually kept, making herself a salad and pita pocket before dinner in a couple of hours. Putting the covered bowl and some granola bars and cookies in the bag she'd brought with her, she walks back to the dorm, passing the others doing the same thing.


Dinner is at six and she fills her tray three times before she's finally full. "One more day," Abby says as Josette sighs. "Yes, but then we have to wait for the other shoe to drop as to whether the idiot hacker messed with the grades mailed out." Dinner ends and detouring to the snack area again she gets some more food for later that night before joining the others walking to the dorm.


The puppies are walked again and Josette changes the kitty litter and takes out the trash before everybody heads inside for the night. Josette changes into her nightgown, the others heading to their room for the night. Nobody seems interested in talking or listening to music that night and she lies on the bed staring into the darkness until finally falling asleep.


The next day dawns much the same, everybody walking to the gym after the puppies are walked and the pets fed, then having breakfast before coming back to the dorm with their cases of bottled water and getting their school bags. The sound of a refrigerator running makes everybody sigh in relief that the power is back on. Things are looking up and they head to the university for the last time, taking their finals and getting their grades before heading back home. Everybody is quiet until Josette lets out a whoop and everybody starts laughing. "Take that, University of Massachusetts, Boston. We beat you."


Everybody heads for their rooms, getting animal kisses before they check their mail and head to the dining hall for a snack before dinner. Of course their snacks would easily be meals elsewhere and they head back to the dorm, eating at the picnic table outside since the sun is shining nice and warm after letting the puppies out.


"You kids feeling better?" Druid asks as she comes up to them after they're finished eating. "You seemed upset the last couple of days."


"All the shit that the school's been throwing at us, got us down for a while." Josette admits. "Let them do their worst now, we survived our finals and we beat them."


"Yes you did." Druid smiles. "Do you have your grades?"


"What the teachers gave us when we handed in our finals." Susan says. "Now that the power's back we can get online to check our grades."


"I'm glad to see you're enjoying yourselves again." Druid scratches the puppies ears as they all head back inside. "Josette, you got two large bunches of laundry to wash tonight."


Josette lets out another whoop and Druid sighs in relief, yes the kids are all right.


"Only you would be excited to do dishes and wash laundry." Alexander teases her as she enters her room. Their doors are left open and everybody gets into the teachers section of the University site, wincing at all the attacks on the front page from the hacker. Thankfully the teachers section is a different server and encrypted against attacks, they download the grades that would be found on their office doors, printing them out as additional proof against tampered grades. Josette looks at the clock and starts running a sink full of hot water to wash the dishes and looks around the room before heading for dinner.


"Life is finally back to normal." Josette says as she swipes her card through the card reader and starts filling her tray with food. Principal Madison is sitting at the front table with one of the visitors from last weekend and a pair of women and Josette grins and comes up to the head table after putting her tray on the table.


"Well?" Principal Madison asks.


"Four 4.0s, I have the papers the teachers signed themselves and printouts of what would have been on their office doors, lets see the hacker mess with our grades now."


"Don't forget to e-mail Ms. Sawyer with your grades, she said she'd be interested in them." Jolt says calmly. She nods and says a quiet hello to the others at the table then heads back to her table.


"It's good to see her back in good spirits, they've been so quiet the last couple of days waiting for the other shoe to drop thanks to the university." Druid says calmly as she takes a seat at the front table. Patricia and Bethany watch the young woman Doc thinks is their granddaughter as she interacts with her friends, arms waving in midair in the nearly empty dining room as the others just give her indulgent looks.


Doc nods, contrasting the young woman in front of him now to the young woman he'd been introduced to the previous weekend. He can see the difference now.


/Patricia?/ he 'says', looking at his first wife.


/She looks and sounds just like Charles at that age./ she 'says'. /I'm not up on the medical end, but is there a way to know for sure if we're her grandparents?/


/Yes, a variation on the standard paternity test should tell us if she was related to me and what the degree of relationship is, it's primarily used in legal circles to deal with inheritances when illegitimate children come forward after the father is deceased./


Josette gets up for her second meal as other students begin trickle in. "Charity, congrats on your latest youtube video." Susan says as the other girl comes in. She grins and gets hugs from everybody before settling at a table. Pat shakes her head in disbelief when Josette fills her third tray of the night, eating quickly and looking at the clock. She's got just enough time to run back to the dorm and get the letter with Ms. Sawyer's e-mail address before she has to punch into work. "We'll meet you at the laundry after we finish eating. Josette nods, ducks into the side hall and gets snacks to eat later at the laundry and heads to the dorm, running into her room, grabbing the letters and sticking them in her bag, and heads for the laundry.


Punching in she takes a deep breath and smiles as she walks into the back room, shaking out bags of sheets and towels and starting to sort everything into machines. A black bag is in the bag and she opens it for a moment and shakes her head, somebody's makeup case must have been accidentally mixed up with the sheets. It's not the first time that something has been found in the laundry, both the boys and girls have accidentally dropped stuff down the laundry chute in the past. Shaking her head and putting it on the counter with her bag she fills the machines and starts them running before walking down the hall and checking out the other room. With the power being out most of the weekend, not very many people had been doing laundry and she quickly cleans the machines, checks the dispenser and emergency closet for supplies, and heads back to the second room. Josette settles on the stool and turns on the computer, opening an e-mail program and starting an e-mail to Ms Sawyer with her grades as the others come into the room. She slides off the stool, letting the others take her place as she opens the supply closet to get a new bottle of detergent and box of dry bleach out, shaking her head as she sees the closet is nearly empty. Grabbing the pencil and notepad on the door, she starts making lists of what she needs to have ordered, walking to the other closet and marking down some more items.


The others are finished with writing down their grades in the e-mail and she finishes it up before sending it, then opening the IM program and sending a list of supplies needed in the laundry to the office. She knows Joyce will get the message when she arrives at the office in the morning and will have it ordered by noon. Usually she orders enough to last the whole term but with the extra laundry thanks to the apartment fire and the students washing their clothes more often because of teachers in the building, they're running low early. Knowing Joyce, the emergency order and regular order will go out at the same time and they should have everything by early December.


Abby takes the makeup kit to put in the lost and found in the new girls dorm as the others start emptying the washers, Principal Madison smiles as he sees Josette and her friends moving around the room when he enters. "David, your godmother just called me since your phone went to voicemail. She's going to be flying into Boston early tomorrow, meanwhile your new generator is being driven to the school by truck and should be arriving the same time she and her guests do. We'll be picking them up with the shuttle at the airport in the morning, there's going to be eight guests total. Your godmother, the electrical engineer who was here earlier, he's driving in with the generator, and six representatives from various universities across the country."


David nods. "My phone's charging since the power went out this weekend."


Principal Madison nods then remembers something one of his teachers had said. "Josette, did you find something in the sheets you've already done?"


"A makeup kit? Abby just ran it over to the lost and found in the girls dorm before you arrived."


"Ahh, thank you. One of the new girls is in hysterics because it's missing." He shakes his head. "I can't understand it."


Josette snorts. "Neither can I."


"Dr. Savage and their friends would like to talk to you if you have the time also." Principal Madison says as he turns to go. The boys start the first set of sheets and towels drying as Josette pulls the cart over and starts shaking out the second set of sheets and towels. Abby returns from the run to the girls dorm before Principal Madison leaves and he thanks them before taking his leave. The sheets and towels are dry before the second set finishes washing and they start pressing and folding the sheets and towels, wrapping them in plastic and putting them in the bags before throwing the second set of laundry into the dryers. Settling against the counter, Josette leans against David's chest as they talk about what they have to do in the morning before their guests arrive.


"We can get the coolers and dry ice as the superstore." David says.


"And get the papers, the superstore is usually closed Thanksgiving, but that other megastore in town is always open and the last few years they've been involved in those shop thanksgiving day sales. And they'll have have the ad for the superstore's sale when they open again at midnight." Josette says.


"Don't tell me you intend to go to Black Friday sales." Alan snorts.


"Oh hell no, but we'll need groceries and if they're anything like last year they'll be opening at eleven for the early shoppers. We can go in at midnight or so if they have something we want, otherwise unless we go to the megastore tomorrow we won't be grocery shopping until the weekend. And I'd like to go into Boston to the warehouse store this weekend."


David slowly nods. "And there's a few things I need to look at at Lowes now that we have the time to concentrate on working on the dorm for a couple of weeks."


The second load of laundry is finished drying and they get up and start pressing and folding sheets and towels, wrapping them in plastic and fill the cart. It's after midnight by the time everything is cleaned up and they push the cart and bags through the tunnels to the new girls dorm, leaving it outside the door before they walk back to the entrance to their dorm and head for their beds.


The next morning finds everybody waking late and getting hot showers before they walk back to the dorm. After the twins and Josette run to the library to copy their checks, they borrow David's car and drive into town to the bank. Alan came with them and they knock quietly on the bank's vice-president's door and hand over the letters they received. They learn that yes, their loans have been paid off and they deposit their checks before leaving the building, stunned.


"Who would have paid off our loans?" Anna asks as they get back in the car. "Anywhere else we need to stop? Besides the library and superstore for Susan's cat supplies and feminine stuff?" she says at Josette's opening mouth. Josette grins and they emerge from the library with thick bags of books and DVDS before heading back to the school, pulling into the parking lot behind the girls dorm monitor rooms just as two of the school's shuttle vans pulls into the parking lot next to them.


Dr. Blake gets out of the first van and hugs the girls and Alan as the driver opens the back doors of the second van and starts pulling out suitcases and boxes, between all of them they get everything in the dorm and the drivers grin at them and take the vans back to the regular parking lot. They'll be needed after classes today.


"I know it's only been a couple of weeks but it's good to see you again." She says as she introduces everybody. "I know I said we were only going to have eight guests but one of my friends got back to me unexpectedly and said he'd take a later flight and meet us here. He's from a speciality university out in California, Charlie is bringing information to the school for CalSci."


Josette blinks and chuckles. "Charlie, from CalSci? Professor Eppes?" The others grin.


It's Allison's turn to blink. "You know Charlie?"


"Yeah, he was our math teacher our freshman year." Anna grins. "He was working on his latest book and took the position as a favor for a friend. I know Principal Madison and Professor Druid will be glad to see him again, everybody wanted him to stay on."


"Do you have a place where we can put these boxes? Some of them are going to be taken to the library for the other students, but some of these are your personal copies."


"Yeah, we cleaned out the lounges this past weekend since nobody was going to be taking their textbooks to our finals and we didn't have any electricity."


"Then you're getting the generator just in time." Allison sighs. "What happened and how long was it out?"


"Lightning strike took out a station, it went out Saturday afternoon and we got it back sometime Tuesday morning."


"And we're going to be shutting your electricity off again in a few hours." Allison sighs.


"Yeah, but if we need to do anything we can just run to one of the other buildings on campus. It's a bitch when the power is out everywhere." Susan snorts as she comes out of her room. "Did you?"


"Yeah, we need to get our stuff out of the trunk." Alan cuts through the twins room and opens the trunk of David's car, pulling out bags with Josette's help. Susan takes one of the bags and cat supplies from Alan and goes back into her room.


"When you're done putting everything away, can you come back out here please?" Allison asks. "Where are the others?"


"The superstore in town getting coolers and dry ice for the food in our refrigerators. If they didn't have them, they were heading into Boston to a sporting good store." Abby says as Josette puts her library bag on the kitchen table.


"Oh good, I had hoped somebody had thought about that." Allison sighs. "Do you have much?"


"No, we'd been so distracted with all the shit going on with the university we hadn't had a chance to go grocery shopping for a while." Anna says. "Even the refrigerator in the basement was getting bare. Since we knew you'd be coming out, we decided to go shopping after the generator is installed."


A beeping from the back tells everybody that the boys have arrived, rolling coolers being placed in their rooms and down in the basement before David hands Josette the papers and they turn their attention to Dr. Blake and their guests. Allison starts going through the boxes from GD and nods as she finds what she's looking for. "I know you all have computers but they're not powerful enough for all the programs we use for off location learning. So we have new laptops for all of you, plus the programs you're going to need for your classes." She grins as everybody but her godson blinks at her. He just starts grabbing boxes at her direction, putting them in their rooms.


"Josette, is there a place where we can put the school's copies of school material?" Allison asks.


"Yes, the library has a meeting room we can use and storage for what you brought." Alan is nudged until he starts putting boxes into subspace and the school representatives walk to the library, going down the outside stairs and looking around in satisfaction at the large room with seating for everybody as Principal Madison comes into the room. He unlocks the storage room next door and some of the boxes are placed in there while others are left in the room.


"Yes, this is perfect for our talks with you eight, and I understand you have an auditorium where we can talk to your other students?"


Jolt nods. "School will be over today for the holiday, I can set up a schedule for you to use the auditorium Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to talk to the students."


"Thank you Principal Madison."


Meanwhile Susan, Anna, and Abby are making beds in the rooms on the first floor, Alan had moved box springs and mattresses down from the third floor earlier that morning. David starts putting knobs on the doors as the others come back from the library. The representatives start putting their bags away in their rooms as a large vehicle pulls into the parking lot behind the building, Allison going out with Principal Madison to show the driver where to park the vehicle so they can bring the generator in parts through the tunnels since there's no outside entrance to the basement. The kids start emptying their refrigerators and putting everything in the coolers before heading down to the basement to take care of that refrigerator, Anna and Abby drawing pails of hot soapy water to clean the refrigerators when the engineer announces he'd be shutting the power off in ten minutes. Josette walks to her room and starts cleaning her own refrigerator and freezer, drying everything before putting the racks back in the refrigeror and shutting the door. Once all the refrigerators are cleaned Allison tells them to get their school records, including the grades from this last semester at the university before taking them back to the library where one of the school representatives are waiting for them. Folders are placed in front of them when they settle at the table and they listen to the introduction about the school and what courses are offered. They hand over their course lists they'd received when they'd enrolled with their classes already marked off from high school and what classes they'd taken this last semester, he makes out a new list for each of them and shows them what classes he'd have them taking in January if they enroll in his university. After going over everything with them, he hands over goodie bags and Allison follows them up the outside stairs of the library with a box of course catalogs to put in the first floor lounge when a pair of familiar figures coming down the sidewalk catch her eyes.


"Patricia, Clark?"


"Allison, what are you doing here. . .You're the one who's helping Josette and her friends find a new university after University of Massachusetts Boston told them they weren't welcome back?" Clark asks, hugging her. When he's finished, Patricia hugs her and they both kiss her on the lips. "Yes, my godson David is one of her friends. What are you doing here though?"


Clark looks around to make sure that nobody is within earshot and quietly says. "Josette. . .might be our granddaughter."


Allison is stunned. "You're joking?"


"No, James. . .or Logan as he's going by now told us that he'd come across somebody he thought was our grandchild. We didn't think anything of it at first since we've had others come forward looking for money, but with James' senses he'd know."


"Yes," Allison says slowly. "I came to the school this last weekend to apologize for the actions of the committee that's overseeing the fund we created to give deserving students full scholarships. Josette said at that time that she'd found some rocks with drawings on them and had requested a couple of Johnny's books to try to translate them. Johnny asked if she still had the photos and her translation attempts, when we went to her room I recognized the picture by her bed as one of my former associates, Clarinda had been dating our son before he died."


"So you think that she's your granddaughter?"


"I haven't been able to get hold of James yet to ask him if she's who he met, but I 'knew' her Allison."


Allison nods as they walk into the dorm, putting the box of course catalogs in the lounge before they walk down the hallway as Anna, Abby, and Alan go past them with their puppies tugging at the leash. "Mail's been delivered. No, there's nothing from the university in today's mail but we all got mail." Alan calls down the hallway. Josette starts cussing and comes out to the boxes, reaching for her mail like it's a snake about to bite before she sighs and relaxes, seeing it's her check from the school and one of the trade journals her teachers had told her to sign up for when they learned she'd be taking over the library.


"Dr. Savage?" Josette smiles as she takes his hand.


"Yes, I'd just come to congratulate you on your grades from the university. This is my cousin Patricia." The older woman takes her hand and Allison nods at the letter in her hand. "Good news?"


"Well, there was no insane letter from the university so it's not bad news. Just a trade journal for librarians one of my teachers suggested I sign up for and my check from the school's laundry. There should be a little extra in it this time, which will make up for being short the last couple of weeks."


Allison smiles slightly and Clark and Patricia look at her in interest as Josette heads back for her bedroom, sighing and putting her mail on the desk when she finds the kitten trying to reach something under the refrigerator.


"You're going to have to wait until Abby comes back." she tells him. "I can't reach it either." She settles at the desk and opens her paycheck, blinking at the amount. "That's the check where all of you were up those two nights, isn't it?" Allison asks.


"Yeah." Josette says, putting the check in the locking drawer of her desk. Footsteps coming up the hall and the other door opening has Josette getting to her feet. "Abby, the pest knocked his mousie under the refrigerator again." she calls around the door.


Abby chuckles and takes the flashlight, laying down on the floor and the mouse flies out from under the refrigerator, she 'tosses' it in the direction of the kitten who jumps on it. "Now I know why you call him the pest."


"No, I call him the pest because of his habit of climbing my legs and sitting on my chest while I sleep." She sighs and looks at the cat. "I really need to come up with a name for you." Patricia is looking around the room, the bathroom and closet doors are open but the first and only thing she's looking at is sitting on the nightstand, like Clark had said there's the picture of Clarinda. A loud grumbling from next door has everybody grinning, "Was that the puppies or your brother's stomach?"


"Alan." She chuckles. Looking at her watch she sees it's nearly one. "Guys, lets go eat, the dining hall is only going to be open for another hour and fifteen or twenty minutes." Allison goes down to get the engineer working on the generator, the truck driver had left as soon as the truck was unloaded, and everybody heads for the dining hall.


"So do you need Global Dynamics to run the test?" she asks Pat and Clark as they settle at a table.


"Please." Pat looks at Josette as she leans against the dark haired young man that Allison had introduced to them as her godson. "The group seems close, are they. . ."


"Together? Yes. Actually I have the perfect excuse for drawing the blood, Josette didn't know she was magical until a couple of weeks ago." Doc and Pat stare at her, stunned. "I swear to the goddess, she didn't realize it. She knew the cats were of familiar stock because James told her that your family bred them and that Samhein had chosen her, but didn't realize they were active familiars. When Shadow arrived, she thought that she was an unbonded familiar who had sought Samhein out to breed with him. She'd just got the kitten the day before I arrived, I truly didn't realize she was magical until after I'd seen the cats, then I could feel the magic rolling off her."


"Is she. . ."


"Sexually active, yes for a little over a year now." Allison says quietly. "She's been on hormonal birth control, I want to see what the level is in her bloodstream before I start her on something else that won't affect her magic. They've been concentrating on their studies for the last couple of months but now that school's out I expect them to be 'celebrating' surviving the university."


Pat and Doc nod. "We have to head back to New York in a few hours, I'll give you a blood sample before we leave."


After lunch is a interview with a second representative from a university, they emerge two hours later and Allison grabs onto Josette when she comes back to the dorm, pushing her into a chair. She looks at the small container of medical supplies and rolls up her sleeve at Allison's quiet words. The needle slips into her arm and Allison takes a couple of vials of blood before taping gauze over her arm and asking her Godson to open a tesseract to Global Dynamics, walking through and hissing something in Nathan's ear before kissing, him, Jack Carter, and the babies and walking back to the dorm before David shuts the opening. They all head off to a third interview for a university and Allison smiles as she sees Charlie Eppes coming up the sidewalk with Principal Madison and Professor Druid.


"So, can I do anything to get you thinking of coming back to school to teach?" Jolt asks as he puts Charlie's duffel bag down on the bed. They'd already put the school information from Calsci in the library storage room with the other boxes and Charlie had been tag team hugged by the eight university students. "I'm going to be without a math teacher next fall."


Charlie takes a deep breath. "Make me an offer, I've had a couple of rough patches in LA lately and I need a break. I love my family and friends, I love them, I really do love them." his fists clench.


"But you don't exactly *like* them right now." Druid says.


"Exactly." Charlie nods. "I'll have a job proposal worked up for you before you leave Monday morning."




The kids arrive back at the dorm a couple hours later, putting their bags away so they don't trip over them when it gets dark out and go down to the storeroom to bring out candles, flashlights, and a couple of oil lamps for the rooms. Jolt had already said that she could do the boys laundry Friday night, getting enrolled in a new school came first. The next interview is set for after dinner and Josette picks up the paper, finding the ad for the megastore and starts looking at the stuff on sale there tomorrow and later Friday and Saturday. The twins come in to look at the ad as she turns to the 'Save Big, Shop Here' ads for Black Friday.


"Nope," she finally says.


"Not a damn thing that I'd be interested in either." the others say, bundling up the papers and putting them in the recycling bin down the hall. "What time is our next interview?"


"Tonight at seven, it will be ending after the time they close the library to students. Make sure we all have flashlights for the trip back to the dorm."


They nod. Making sure everything is ready for her when its time to come back to the dorm she watches the sun begins to go down before opening a water bottle to fill the cats dish as she makes sure their food dish is full. The puppies head out back for their last walk of the day and Josette shuts the door when it starts turning chilly. The outside door next door opens and shuts and then the inner door opens and shuts as Alan walks down the hall to his room.


"Five thirty, wanna hit the dining hall?" David asks, leaning in the door. "Grammy Allie just corralled everybody else for dinner and a meeting in the library before our interview at seven."


Josette nods and he bends down to kiss her as she slips her bag over her arm and a flashlight into the bag. "Any word on when the power comes back on?"


"Around noon tomorrow, there's about four more hours work before the power comes back on, then we're putting a closet around the generator."


"And we need to figure out what school we're going to be attending by Sunday."


David nods. "Once the power is back on we can start looking through all the information and make our choices."


"What if Screw U doesn't release our grades?" Alan asks.


"We've got copies of our grades, they're good enough for all the schools." David soothes the others as they walk to the dining hall, fill their trays, and start eating. A half hour before they're ready to leave Allison and the others enter the dining hall and Charlie is pulled over to the teachers table by grinning colleagues who heard the news that he might be coming back. The haunted look that had been in his eyes is easing at the enthusiastic greetings he'd been receiving since arriving back at the school. Allison takes the last seat at the table and says something, everybody looks at her and starts asking questions. She has a folder in her hand and starts handing out papers.


"Attention students," Jolt stands up and everybody turns to look in his direction. "We have guests from a number of universities who will be giving talks about their schools in the auditorium this weekend. Your dorm monitors will be handing out sheets with more information tomorrow night when the dorms are locked down for the night. The dining hall will be on a holiday food schedule tomorrow, for our new students this means there will not be a separate breakfast and lunch serving tomorrow. Brunch will be from ten to noon to give our cooks time to work on thanksgiving dinner. Dinner will be held at the usual time of five to eight pm." He sits back down and the students begin talking among themselves as Josette gets up for her second helping of dinner.


Washing her face and hands after dinner in the bathroom at the library, she walks back outside and down the stairs into the meeting room with the others, settling in a comfortable seat and leaning back in the chair as the others settle around her. The door opens and the school representative comes in and starts talking about her school and each program they're interested in, showing them how their classes will transfer over and talking about what options are available to them for law school, medical school, and graduate school. The representative winds up her talk about quarter after nine, handing out the goodie bags and David hands his to Josette to carry as he grabs the box of supplies as they walk out of the building, the student on duty shutting off the last of the lights and locking the outside door as they walk down the sidewalk to the dorm, stunned when they find it blazing with lights.


"We'll shut the electricity off again at eight tomorrow when we finish connecting the generator and test it, but this way everybody can get hot showers, check e-mails, and do everything else that needs to be done tonight." Allison says as she grins at them. Josette locks the doors for the night and heads for her room, putting David's bag in front of his door before dropping the bags on the bed before stripping off her clothes and standing under a hot shower. After her shower Josette settles at her desk chair, making a note to get a new one since this one is getting old and uncomfortable and starts opening the first bag of information from the school as David puts the last box of school catalogs into the first floor lounge before shutting the door and heading to his room for his own hot shower before it's all gone. Now that they have a generator, the next thing they're going to be looking at is a larger hot water system.


Sitting at the kitchen table, Josette looks at the first comparison between Screw U, she sniggers at Alan's nickname for their old school and the first school they'd been introduced to, checking the course catalog for the next semester to see if she can still sign up for the classes she'd already been planning to sign up for and then checking the list of classes she needs to see if she needs to change the order of classes she'd need. She'd need more classes than their old school to graduate, two that she should have had this last semester and she scowls but opens a notepad page on her laptop and starts a list of the schools from first to last by way of classes before pulling other items out of the 'goodie' bag, finding a t-shirt in her size, Allison must have told them their sizes since her name is on the bag, information on their graduate school, she nods as she realizes that she'd need more classes now but less classes in graduate school and makes a check next to the name before putting everything back in the bag, finding samples of the schools magazines and a dvd tour of the school before blinking as she sees the computer programs included in the package. They're student versions of programs, but they're full versions of the programs and not trials that she'd have to end up paying for later.


The second bag is opened and Josette compares the list of classes she'd need to Screw U and the school she'd just looked at, again she'd need more classes but remembers that the representatives had said that these degrees were geared towards working adults who were going for degrees and there'd be more classes in the beginning but less classes when she got to the masters level. She makes a note to ask the representatives about a possible information technology bachelor sometime in the future and checks the course catalog and the list of classes she'd been planning on taking. All are available and she nods as she starts looking at other information, putting the school at the top of the list for now.


The other two schools are looked at similarly, she puts up the boxes that Dr. Blake had brought them on the desk before shutting off the lights and settling under the covers. Sleep doesn't come easily and she scowls, getting up and turning on the light to start reading the school catalogs again. A second list of schools is started in another computer file based on school location, number of students and whether they're primarily geared toward new students just out of high school or returning students who have been in the workplace for a while. She remembers what Dr. Blake had said, they'd be able to take most of their classes online but they'd have to either go to the school or a lab at Global Dynamics for speciality classes, tests, and their finals. Finally she begins to feel tired and marks her place in the catalog she'd been reading and returns to bed.


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